Niacin (Vitamin B3/PP): Properties, Sources, Side Effects

Niacin (vitamin B3, PP) - properties, occurrence, side effects

Niacin is also known as vitamin B3 or PP. However, fewer people know that nicotinic acid is also niacin. It has many functions in the body, which include the nervous system and sex hormones. Other interesting functions of vitamin PP include boosting self-confidence. Its deficiency is very troublesome. It can pose a serious threat to health. In order to avoid this, it is necessary to include in the diet certain groups of products that provide the body with the necessary vitamin.

Niacin - what is it?

Niacin is a vitamin with a huge impact on the body. Although it is one of the few vitamins that the body synthesises on its own, the amounts are too small to avoid a deficiency. This is why it is so important to take niacin with food or in the form of external supplementation, which allows for quick replenishment of deficiencies. Niacin influences the functioning of the brain and the peripheral nervous system. One of the consequences of its deficiency is pelagra. Although the disease itself is no longer a big problem in the modern world, alcoholics, for example, still suffer from it. To this disease, niacin owes its second name, i.e. vitamin PP (antipelargic agent).

Niacin deficiency effects

Niacin deficiency is most often manifested by pelagic fever. This in turn has many unpleasant effects. These include problems with the mouth, and more specifically, its inflammation. Pelagra also manifests itself in skin problems. Roughness and redness of the skin, blisters on it, dark brown spots on the neck, hands and face are some of them. In addition, the disease also affects the digestive system, causing diarrhoea. It also affects the psyche, causing insomnia, general weakness and various mental disorders.

Niacin - how does it work and what does it help?

Niacin has invaluable properties from the cosmetic point of view. Its effect on the skin concerns not only protection against pelage. This vitamin primarily penetrates into the deeper layers of the skin. Thanks to this, it effectively combats such problems as acne pimples, roughness, redness and inflammation. Vitamin PP also acts as a conductor. It allows other nutrients to penetrate deeper into the skin. This is why it is such a common ingredient in cosmetics, especially face or body creams.

Vitamin PP also has a great influence on the good condition of the skin. It protects the skin from drying out due to water loss. Niacin stops this process. It regulates the renewal processes of the epidermis and stimulates collagen production, which affects the firmness of the skin. Vitamin B3 acts as a powerful antioxidant. It not only inhibits the formation of free radicals. It also protects the skin from UV radiation, which contributes to the skin ageing process. Niacin protects against hyperpigmentation and prevents the formation of new skin lesions. All this leads to smoother, healthier and younger looking skin.

Vitamin B3 affects the nerves in a very broad sense. It takes part in the metabolism of fatty acids, carbohydrates and amino acids. It also takes part in the production of red blood cells, lowers cholesterol levels, and dilates blood vessels. It can also inhibit the toxic effects of drugs and other chemical compounds. As a mood-enhancing vitamin, niacin supports the treatment of some mental disorders, including depression or schizophrenia.

Niacin is involved in the synthesis of sex hormones, including cortisol, insulin and thyroxine.

Niacin for neurosis and depression

Numerous studies prove that niacin supplementation may be an effective aid in the treatment of neurosis and depression, because mental ailments are often directly related to poor diet and deficiencies of certain vitamins, especially niacin. This substance is missing primarily in the organisms of people struggling with such ailments as anxiety, insomnia, amnesia, chronic fatigue, concentration problems, hallucinations or fear of people. With proper niacin supplementation, it is possible to eliminate or reduce toxic antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications. A high amount of niacin in the diet leads to improved mood, reduces unpleasant symptoms of migraines, and even increases appetite. It has a positive effect on the nervous system, reduces stress and tension, and minimises feelings of anxiety. Thanks to niacin, we become more self-confident in stressful situations, our self-esteem increases and we are more ready to take on challenges.

Niacin with alcohol

Drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and using other stimulants negatively affects the amount of niacin in our body. During niacin supplementation, it is therefore prohibited to consume alcoholic beverages, which hinder the absorption of this substance. However, it is recommended to take very large amounts of niacin in the case of treatment for addiction. Alcohol addicts are advised to take up to 12 grams of niacin a day for about two years after consulting their doctor regarding contraindications such as cirrhosis.

Niacin - where it occurs

Niacin is present in foods that can be easily introduced into the diet. These include poultry and pork meat, as well as liver. It is also found in plant products, namely potatoes and cereal products. It also appears in fish and peanuts. It is also found in mushrooms and eggs.

Niacin - how to take it

If you want to feel better, niacin is the answer. However, how many mg per day should you take? It all depends on age and gender. The norm for children oscillates between 6-12 mg. The distinction appears in slightly older children. Young girls should include niacin in their diet at a level of 12-15 mg, and boys slightly more, from 12 to 16 mg. Adult men, on the other hand, should not drop below 16 mg and women 14 mg. With pregnant women having an increased standard of up to 18 mg.

Niacin - which is the best

Niacin can be found in food products not as pure vitamin PP, but as nicotinic acid and its amide. Nicotinic acid is most often found in products of animal origin. On the other hand, products of plant origin are mainly nicotinic acid amide. Pure nicotinic acid has the best assimilability. This means that it is best to include animal products in the diet. In addition, it is nicotinic acid that dilates blood vessels and lowers cholesterol and lipid levels. Nicotinic acid amide does not have similar properties. For this reason, nicotinic acid is the best form of niacin to take, either directly from food or through external supplementation.

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